A new Muslim in love with a non-Muslim
I am a new convert to Islam who is in love with a non-Muslim man. I am torn between my obedience to my faith and my love for this man. What can I do?
Love is a beautiful feeling that God Almighty instills in the hearts of people. The ultimate source of love is God Almighty and from God’s love stems all other forms of love.
There are two kinds of love from the Islamic perspective. The first kind is divine love and this refers to love for God, His prophets, His revealed books and His decrees. The second kind is the innate love humans have for their families, children, friends, spouses, neighbors and the world at large.
The first kind of love always forms the fine base and measure for the validity and continuity of the second kind. For instance, God Almighty emphatically commands us to love and care for our parents, children, friends, neighbors and be kind to humans at large. This means that the second kind of love corresponds to the first and therefore is lawful.
On the other hand, when natural innate love contradicts divine love, it becomes a mere desire or whim. As genuine as your love for your love object is and as caring as he is for you, marriage is a different story. Marriage is about sharing every aspect of your lives together and one of these important aspects is religious inspiration and spiritual growth. A special bond grows gradually between a man and his wife when they experience worship together such as when the husband leads his wife in prayer or when they attend Friday prayers together and are active in their religious community. When it comes to having children, marrying a Muslim man is essential as he plays a central role in their spiritual upbringing as a role model for praying and other religious activities.
Muslims aim to follow Prophet Muhammad’s footsteps and trace his fine actions because, for them, he is the embodiment of perfection and our gateway to God’s pleasure. Reading the Prophet’s biography leaves one at awe on how gentle, caring and loving he was to all the people around him—his wives, children, friends and even foes. It would be totally unfair for you to ask your husband to follow a prophet he does not believe in.
Love and care are important qualities in a potential husband. However, without compatibility and harmony in other major aspects, love will suffer a major setback because the necessary nourishment which keeps the flame of love ignited will eventually fade away.
Marriage in Islam has a higher purpose around which a couple’s lives revolve. Both parties place God’s content and pleasure right at the center of their lives and aim to reach this goal through their intimate relationship, raising their children to love God and as active participants and contributors in the larger society in which they live. This higher divine aim that the matrimonial relationship in Islam aims to achieve strengthens the bonds of love, mercy and compassion between the couple and this divine wave of love flows into the hearts of their children as well.
From a legal perspective, it is permissible in Islam for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman (Christian or Jewish) but not vice-versa. Though this may seem unfair, the rationale behind it becomes clear if the true reason is known. All legislations in Islam are based on certain wisdoms and a definite interest to all parties involved.
Marriage in Islam is based on love, mercy and peace of mind; a family must be built upon a firm basis to guarantee the continuity of the marital relationship. Islam respects all the previous heavenly revealed religions and belief in all the previous prophets is an inseparable part of the Islamic creed. It is obligatory for a Muslim man who marries a Christian or a Jewish woman to respect her faith and it is not permissible for him to prevent her from practicing the rites of her religion and from going to her church or synagogue. Therefore, Islam seeks to provide the wife with her husband's respect for her religion which in turn protects the family from destruction. On the other hand, it will be unlikely for a non-Muslim man to respect the faith of his Muslim wife. This is mainly because a Muslim man believes in all previous religions and prophets and respects them while a non-Muslim does not believe or acknowledge the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him). Rather, a non-Muslim considers Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) a false prophet and usually believes in all the fabricated lies made against Islam and its Prophet. Even if a non-Muslim husband does not explicitly express this, a Muslim wife will constantly feel that her husband does not respect her faith. There is no room for compliments in this matter but it is a matter of principle. Mutual respect between spouses is a fundamental element for the continuity of their marital relationship.
Islam follows its own logic when it prohibits a Muslim man from marrying a non-Muslim other than a Christian or a Jewish woman for the same reason it prohibits a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim. A Muslim believes in only the Heavenly revealed religions; all other religions are manmade. So, when a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim, respect for her religion will be non-existent and this will ultimately affect the marital relationship and will not achieve the love and mercy that is required in the relationship.
We understand that not marrying the man you love is not an easy decision to take, but knowing that God only seeks what makes you happy in both worlds and having deep faith in God’s fine judgment, will make the matter easier on you, God willing. You must also believe that God is the One Who instills love in your heart and if this man is the right one for you, God will guide his heart to Islam and make him a righteous husband for you. But if he remains adamant on his position then this would be a clear sign that he is not the one for you and you have to be assured that God will instill in your heart a new love for a man with whom you can share your life in this world and in the hereafter.
Your feelings of being torn between your love for God and your love for the man you want to marry is a real hardship. Your heart will not find ease unless a reconciliation is made so you do not have to choose between them anymore.
And God Almighty knows best.